It’s finally time: The NBA Finals are here! Will the Boston Celtics win their first title since 2008? Or will the former Dynasty Warriors strike again after three titles in the past seven years? three SpoxEditors join the discussion ESPNExpert Kevin Bilton is the most important factor that will decide this series.
Bilton has been writing since 2013 ESPNpreviously it was among others Sports IllustratedThe The Wall Street Journal She served as a statistical consultant for the Indiana Pacers from 2010 to 2012. He is also a regular member of the Hoop Collective Podcast and co-host of the Fabulous Peltoncast Podcast. Of course, you can also find him on Twitter.
Before it all comes up tonight in the NBA Finals (Game 1 live from 3pm dazn), we talk with Bilton about the most important game and X factor of the series, about a back-row player who will decide a game for his team – and of course our expectations.
The NBA Finals: The main game of the series is…
Ole Frerks (SPOX Editor): Boston Guard vs Stephen Curry. A little obvious, but that’s how it is. My question: Can Marcus Smart or Derek White handle Curry’s constant movement so well that the top player can be defended twice on one cover?
Or is Boston trying to get the ball out of his hands by increasing the pressure? Or are you trying to steal the flow of warriors with a permanent Houston-style switch in 2018? The answer is most likely this: You’ll see, there’s no such thing as a perfect solution, and it’s also up to the other warriors to make every “choose your poison” scenario option.
Boston has a staff to test every cover, enough players who should and are allowed to switch to curry. However, Smart and White in particular will have to meander on the earlier screens if the alternative is that Horford or, above all, Robert Williams, switch to curry. Are they able to do this consistently?
Smart in particular didn’t seem too active against the heat in the end, DPOY has had ankle issues since the Bucks series. Ime Udoka now said he “didn’t have to worry” about it. That would be worth its weight in gold, because defending against curry is hard work. It’s also a team job, but it’s possible that intelligence – or white – will start at the point of attack.
The NBA Finals: Will Andrew Wiggins become a Tatum stopper?
Kevin Bilton (ESPN-expert): Jason Tatum vs Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is the only healthy warrior who combines size, strength and speed to defend the Tatum. The Celtics star presents a huge challenge to all opponents in this playoff.
It’s imperative that Wiggins continues the impressive defense we’ve seen since his trade with the Warriors – as well as in the match with Luka Doncic in the Western Conference Finals.
On the other side of the field, the Warriors will help if he continues to shoot well and score efficiently, as he did in a lot of playoffs. So it can perfectly compliment the Golden States Backcourt.
Philip Jacob (SPOX Editor): For this, however, the trio should be better than the last in the Mavs series (8/28, 28.6 percent), the larger sample from the regular season naturally gives hope in this regard (39.3 percent). Otherwise, I agree with you on all points.
Tatum should be the best player in the series if Boston is to lift the Larry O’Brien Cup. This is where Wiggins comes in. By the way, he not only performed his defensive tasks more correctly against Doncic, but also against Ja Morant. Now another top-tier player awaits, he has 27 points per game with a real shot of 58.9% in the post-season so far. Wiggins has to make life difficult for him, too with the support of Draymond Green at Help defender for example.
As previously reported by colleagues, Boston will have a lot to do with the Carey & Clay & Co. movement and the Green Game industry – Wiggins can and should be the beneficiary of the crime. He could also become important as a shot creator in his role as the third and fourth scoring option, so that Tatum couldn’t relax defensively.
A little side note: Draymond also has to seek his own conclusion in isolated stages so it doesn’t become too predictable. Otherwise, the Celtics can safely leave him at the three-point line and play four-on-five. Against the already stifling defense of the Celts, that wouldn’t be a good sign for Golden State.
The NBA Finals: This could tear apart the Warriors-D
Stephen Petry (SPOX Editor): Clay Thompson vs. Jaylen Brown. With Curry and Tatum, it will depend on the team’s defense, coaches’ plans and related counterattacks. Celtics will double Curry though top solo artists and start picking, while Tatum will try to weed out Wiggins and move on to Curry and Jordan Poole respectively.
But the “second bananas” have to deal with each other individually. Whoever wins this match and results consistently can be decisive. Can Brown follow Clay through screens and various moves and hold him back in three throws, as well as mid-range shots? In turn, Thompson has to show how his defense works. Brown’s elusiveness is always in doubt – “old” Clay had her hand a few years ago.
Curry and Tatum will paint the double teams, both teams so strong defensively that the necessary alternations will come. But if Brown isn’t stopped in a one-on-one confrontation, for example, it could rip the Warriors’ defense.
The NBA Finals: Warriors vs Celtics – Dates Glimpse
|1||June 3||3 o’clock||Golden State Warriors||Boston Celtics||dazn|
|2||6th of June||2 o’clock||Golden State Warriors||Boston Celtics||dazn|
|3||June 9||3 o’clock||Boston Celtics||Golden State Warriors||dazn|
|4||June 11||3 o’clock||Boston Celtics||Golden State Warriors||dazn|
|5 *||June 14||3 o’clock||Golden State Warriors||Boston Celtics||dazn|
|6 *||June 17||3 o’clock||Boston Celtics||Golden State Warriors||dazn|
|7 *||June 20||2 o’clock||Golden State Warriors||Boston Celtics||dazn|